Set off on a big mission five years ago, designer Amy Sia moved across the entire globe from Australia to the UK to start her own label and significantly extend her client portfolio. And we must say she is doing pretty good! Amy brought with her not only amazingly colorful and painterly designs to brighten up the London skies, but also extensive experience in fashion design and textile print. Her work looks great on just about anything from pillows, scarfs to mobile accessories. We were happy to catch Amy away from her busy life to talk more about her wonderful watercolor patterns and how she managed to build up her brand.
You initially started your career in textile print design. How was it working for fashion labels creating the print that you could later see being transformed into clothing and making its way down the catwalk? Did you get to create independently or had to follow strict rules?
It is always exciting hearing that labels you admire have purchased a design you created! It is a thrill seeing a print you created in store or being worn by someone on the street. As a freelancer there is a lot of creativity in designing, usually you are given mood boards of the big trends for the season so that you can choose to work on the trends that speak to you the most. When a design is a commission there are sometimes more specifics in a colour palette, an end use in mind etc. that influence the design.
You now have your own label where you work with prints to create trendy accessories and homeware. You probably came equipped with lots of experience working in the textile industry but how was it to finally stand on your own feet? Did you come across many struggles along the way?
It was exciting to be able to do my own thing! I love being able to work on my own projects and take my business in the direction I want. It is liberating to be able to make all the decisions but there are definitely challenges when working on your own label. I personally find balancing my time always difficult and keeping focused as my natural inclination is to want to try a million ideas! There are limitations when you work for yourself, namely my time as I do almost everything myself and as a small company I don’t have the means of a larger business!
How did you get your brand out there? What tools and social media did you find most useful?
I’ve used a combination of traditional PR and social media to get my brand out there. I personally love Pinterest and Instagram, these are my social media platforms of choice. I guess because they are both very visual they’re the most natural for a designer. Pinterest especially suits me as I am always looking for inspiration anyway, the medium just allows me to share what I am inspired by very naturally and easily.
What made you to make the leap and move from sunny Australia to London? Did you just need a new place for inspiration or is London just easier for business?
Sometimes it is hard to be grateful and appreciate what you have always known so I knew I wanted to live overseas, somewhere with more opportunities to work creatively. It was a combination of wanting a change and hoping to do more creative work, the irony being I ended up working for myself!
How would you compare life in Australia to London? What were some major cultural differences for you?
Life in Australia compared to London is very different, but both places are special in different ways. A few of the biggest differences are the weather, the fast pace of life and the lack of space in London! On the plus side there is so much amazing culture and art it is mind boggling. You really are spoilt for choice in this city, there’s always a new store or museum or fun market to check out! Another plus is how close Europe is, it is quite a novelty as an Australian to be able to go away for a long weekend and be somewhere completely different. Australia is so geographically isolated it is not really possible to travel in the same way that you can here, but of course the plus side is there’s tonnes of space and amazing weather!
Where do you get your inspiration for the colors and patterns you create?
Anywhere and everywhere! One of my biggest sources of inspiration is nature, the beauty in God’s creation is so diverse and the ultimate source of inspiration. I also look at fashion and textiles a lot, things that are online, in stores, old things, blogs, catwalk photos, magazines as well as books. Other artists and designers are also important, I love to go to exhibition and follow lots of designers on Instagram! I love the work of Matisse, especially his colour combinations are amazing. Finally I spend a lot of time trawling Pinterest, probably too much time!
Your best selling design at caseable is “Electrify Ice Blue“. Why do you think that is? Can you tell us by what it was inspired and give us a breakdown of the creation process?
I think it is a really fun, cool and modern design. The original was quite a free and fast painting in purple, green and yellow and the colours didn’t look right! I scanned the design and worked on it in Photoshop and was really happy with the outcome. I thought it would sell well, but it has definitely exceeded my expectations!
Do you have any big plans for 2016? Is there something you would like to achieve?
My biggest thing this year is exhibiting at an art licensing trade show called Surtex in New York. I’m hoping that 2016 will be a year where I continue to create lots of fun art and new products.
What do you think you’d be doing if you’d have never become a designer?
I think i would own a clothing and homewares store filled with vintage pieces and treasures from around the world.
Tell us something that might surprise our readers.
When I'm lazy my dinner of choice is potato chips and Oreos!